Owner Didn't State Valid Reason in Eviction Notice
Facts: Under the terms of a resident's 2003 lease, the agreed-upon rent was $950 per month, payable on the first day of each month. The tenancy was governed by a Section 8 housing assistance payments (HAP) contract, and the premises were located within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (LARSO). Under the Section 8 contract, the resident was required to pay rent in the amount of $392 per month directly to the owner, and the balance was paid directly to owner as a housing assistance payment by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA).
In October 2010, the owner served the resident with a 90-day notice terminating the lease for “good cause,” namely, “business and economic reasons.” The notice stated that the owner's specific reasons for serving the notice were as follows: “difficulty dealing with Section 8 requirements, paperwork, inspections, and attempt to obtain a rent increase. Failure by Section 8 agents in returning phone calls. Constant waste of time to obtain any information. I have made a business decision that I do not want to continue my relationship with the government as a party in my rental contracts.”
In February 2011, the owner served the resident with a three-day notice to pay rent of $950 or quit. The resident attempted to pay her share of the rent, but the owner refused to accept it. In addition, the owner returned the HACLA subsidy of $835, which had been automatically deposited into his bank account.
Subsequently, the owner sued to evict the resident, seeking possession of the unit on the grounds that the resident didn't comply with the three-day notice. The trial court ruled in the resident's favor, and the owner appealed.
Ruling: The appeals court upheld the trial court's ruling.
Reasoning: The owner didn't meet the “good cause” requirements for eviction under LARSO. Under LARSO, there are 13 permitted grounds for termination of a tenancy and eviction of a tenant from rent-controlled premises. The general ground of “business or economic reason” as stated in the owner's 90-day notice to the resident doesn't fall within any of the 13 categories for eviction under LARSO. Accordingly, the court ruled that the owner's notice failed to terminate the Section 8 tenancy.
Crisales v. Estrada, April 2012